Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Lifeline

The Lifeline

Matthew 9:9-13

We remember the time of Lent as a time of preparation for the saving of the world in the death of Jesus Christ.

When I went white water rafting with the Senior High youth earlier this Fall one of the things I noticed was what happened at the particularly treacherous rapids. The group would send one boat ahead to take the rapid and set up. They got out of the boat and got a lifeline ready. This was a long rope, which could stretch to about one hundred feet. It was held in a bag and thrown to anyone who fell out of a succeeding boat, to ensure they would not go on down to the next rapid or face any dangerous water.

The interesting element of this practice was due to the number of groups who used the river. When my raft got down to the rapid, as we were the ones chosen to set the lifeline, there were several other boats and a variety of companies down there. This is not totally unexpected as the Nantahala is a very busy river with all kinds of people travelling on it in a plethora of manners, canoes, duckies, rafts and even kayaks. The excitement came when one boat or another invariably tipped over and someone went spilling out. It seemed that there was a fight about who would throw the rope. This was not a “You do it. No, you do it!” kind of fight, but ”Let me get it. No I’ll get it.” Very similar to two kids running for a ringing phone. The cooperation was astounding. What mattered was that the individual who had fallen out of the particular craft was secured with a rope, not whether they were with a particular company or not. The people were ready with that lifeline regardless.

Jesus is ready with his lifeline regardless of where we are. His lifeline is one of rest and love. He wants us safe and inside the boat of love within the church. But if we are not there, he will ensure that we have got hold of the lifeline that will draw us ever closer to him. The boat is going to be safe and keep going in the direction it needs to be going. The people are going to be safe and looked after by one another, all in the same goal. His watch is over those that have fallen out.

So often we think of the Pharisees as the bad guys of the Bible, but they were doing things well and Jesus reminds them of that in this passage. He came not for the people in the boat, but for those who are struggling in the water alone. If you are in the boat then you are all the better off, but remember that Christ is for the drowning, what ever it is you might be drowning in, work, school, meetings, family, TV, or any of the other varieties of distractions we have.

Prayer: Dearest Lord God, I do know I am overcome at times by this world. Help me to be ever mindful that you are there with a lifeline, waiting to get me back in the boat with those who can support me and work with me to a common end. Your presence is near and comforting. When I am in the boat help me to be watchful for others who have fallen out that I may offer a helping hand and draw them into the boat. You are a preparing God and we want to be equally prepared for you and your coming. Draw us into moments of rest and reflection with you. Amen.

Thought for the day: Lent is a time when the lifeline is being prepared for us.


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